We’re thankful for every single one of you—from the clients who have been with us since the beginning of time, to our most recent additions. Our tribe at Email Broadcast celebrates gratitude with a few words about our clients.
Watch us dish it all right here in this behind-the-scenes chat session. It’s raw. It’s genuine. We’re REELing. Enjoy!
Here’s the scenario: the same sales pitch you’ve seen 5 times already (from the same company!) hits your inbox for the sixth time. What are the chances you’re going to read it vs. deleting it? What’s your predisposed feeling about the next message you get from them, regardless of the content? Our guess is that once a brand has lost your attention, it’s tough to get it back.
Your customers deal with that same decision every day. When an email doesn’t speak to their needs, the time and money you’ve spent making that email are wasted. You end up over budget, with poor metrics, and lower sales. You’ve also alienated your future audience.
There’s a fix. Give them value.
Your customers have given you a tremendous gift… their email address. Reward them by giving them something of value back—value to them, not value to you. You may really want to talk about that sale every week and might think there is real value in that, but does your audience want to hear about it every week?
“It’s not about what you want to say, but about what your audience wants to read.” —Kim Webster, Email Broadcast Operations Manager
We get it… you really need to talk about that upcoming sale and rev up some business. That’s why we recommend the “Jab, Jab, Jab, Ask” method (a la Gary V). In other words, give your customers something of value a few times that truly interests them, and then hit them with your ask. Entertain them, inspire them, educate them. It isn’t always about you!
Our email marketing campaign for Hakai Lodge is a prime example. We can only send people on this mailing list a request to book a northern excursion fishing trip so many times before they tune out, especially with their 54-day season. Owner Clyde Carlson has learned the value of giving his prospects something other than a BOOK NOW call to action.
Fishermen love stories. People love experiences. With this in mind, Email Broadcast treats every message on behalf of Hakai as an opportunity to tell fishing stories, photos, and experiences. So far, it’s worked well. Open rates are consistently high, and fishing trips are being booked up months, if not years, in advance. Hakai Lodge has had their best season ever, the last two years running.
Psst… that’s the “Jab, Jab, Jab, Ask” method! Give them compelling content that keeps them coming back for more, and then hit them with your sales pitch when the timing is right. Since more people will be opening your messages, your promotions will go even better.
Ivan Smith Furniture has also learned that getting people on their email list is just the beginning and sending engaging, personalized content worth reading is what makes them stay. Alongside their promotional campaign runs a 14 message “Value Add” campaign that does NOT ask for the sale, but instead gives helpful tips to homemakers.
The main takeaway here is this… give them a lot before you ask. The value you put in your emails that keeps your readers interested (Jab, Jab, Jab) is the secret sauce to getting them to stay for your Ask.
Whether you’re a large company or a small business, it pays to think about the return on investment (ROI) when you’re putting together a marketing plan. If you’re not maximizing your ROI, then you’re leaving money on the table.
Although ROI varies from business to business, taking a look at general trends can give you a good idea of how to allocate your marketing budget. According to Nielsen, the average marketing return on investment is $1.09. That means for every $1.00 spent, you can expect to receive a net profit of $1.09.
So where do you start? The options are seemingly endless: from traditional (or legacy) mediums like direct mail and telemarketing to all things digital━email marketing, SEO, paid search, internet display ads, etc.
In terms of ROI, no marketing medium can compete with email marketing where the average return per $1.00 spent is a whopping $40.00. To compare, traditional marketing mediums range from $7.00 for direct mail to $0.94 for TV ads to $0.24 for newspaper ads. Yes, you’re reading that right. TV and newspaper ads actually lose money!
Digital marketing mediums fare better than legacy marketing mediums, but email marketing is still the clear leader.
Not only does email marketing have the highest ROI by far, one in five companies report an ROI of over 70:1! If you want to reach that next level, keep in mind that 77% of ROI comes from segmented, targeted, and triggered messages.
If all of this sounds like a foreign language—that’s OK. That’s why we’re here.
Sweating the Competition? 4 Steps to Stay Fresh
Innovation is key as a business owner—you have to keep your products and your strategies current. But you can’t do that without first studying your competitors’ edges. Follow these no-sweat tips to stay ahead of the game.
Step 1: Profile your main competitors
Identify the top three to five leaders in your industry and create detailed profiles about each of them.
Get on their websites, subscribe to their email lists, follow their social media. Find out everything you can about their market position, services, and goals.
If you can, buy a product or service they sell. It may seem counterintuitive, but this will really place you in the consumer’s shoes. Review the company’s customer service, delivery of service, and level of quality.
Step 2: Critique and compare
Examine the profiles in front of you—and make one for your business.
Assess all the information you have available; you may even want to perform a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats).
Next, compare the competition’s performance with your own. Write it out: What do you admire about them? Where are there opportunities for growth in your business? In what ways are you exceeding industry standards?
Identify any offerings they have that your business does not currently provide. Look for opportunities to learn, develop, and grow. Lean into your discomfort.
Step 3: Re-strategize
You have the information, but doing something with it is the secret to finding your own edge.
After conducting competitor analysis, it’s a good idea to hold a strategy meeting with your staff and/or board to determine where to take action.
Assessing your competition is likely to reinforce your own unique brand and market position, and provide the motivation to continue carving out a niche in your industry.
If you’re one of many business owners who came out of this exercise inspired to revamp their marketing strategy, you’re certainly not alone—but you’re also not done. The bonus step to staying fresh is…
Step 4: Don’t neglect your marketing.
It’s true what they say—when the going gets tough, most people cut back on their marketing budgets. This is a terrible thing to do. But when others default to that mindset, it presents a fantastic opportunity for you—because when the competition isn’t advertising or investing in SEO, you can be.
It’s important to stay in the spotlight and get in front of potential customers. Email Broadcast makes it easy to streamline that process and outsource the work. Email marketing continues to be the #1 investment a company can make for its sales and marketing. Don’t neglect this pivotal step.
Change is hard, but so is failing.
No matter your industry, getting staff to buy in on new ideas is critical. Even the best concept in the world fails when the boots on the ground won’t or can’t implement it. So, how do you get your employees to go out of their way to make a new idea work?
Your staff will follow your lead, so if this new initiative is a big deal—make a big deal out of introducing it to them. Use a little bit of showmanship. Talk it up and make sure they understand exactly what you’re looking for and why it’s important.
“Be willing to inspect what you expect.” You can’t see who’s buying in if you don’t look. Keep track of the success of your initiative, and the employees who are driving it. Then continue to check in. It might be a pain in the ass (we know you’re busy), but if you stop looking, they’ll stop caring. The time you take in the beginning to ensure buy-in will pay off in dividends. Your new initiative will become second nature to your team, buy-in will become part of your company culture, and the time you spend monitoring will be less and less.
The “What’s in it for me?” attitude is common (especially among sales staff), so give them a reason to get on board. We like to roll out any new initiative with incentives. Find a success metric, and let your team know that the person who does the best in the first week/month/quarter will get something awesome.
Bonus tip: Surprise incentives are a great way to keep your staff on their toes, especially if someone has sprinted so far ahead that the rest of them have lost the chance to win the big prize. Announcing a “Most Improved” bonus for the day or week can reinvigorate their efforts.
In a perfect world, your whole staff kills it at implementing your new initiative, and all you have to do is reward the people who are Extra Great™. But it’s not a perfect world. To keep bad apples from ruining an otherwise good barrel, you may have to hold some tough conversations.
Once your grace period is up (and you should always have a grace period, to give your employees the chance to course-correct or learn new procedures), it’s time to draw your line in the sand. Assuming you’ve given them good reasons and every opportunity to buy in, there should be consequences for those who don’t. Write-ups, demotions, even termination. If those seem too extreme…
Eat Your Vegetables (They’re Good for You):
Every step we’ve listed ultimately boils down to your own buy-in. If you don’t believe your initiative is valuable, that it’s worth your effort, why should your staff? In order for a new initiative to stick, it has to matter to you—and you have to show it matters with your actions. That means being flawlessly committed to the new plan, and prepared to make hard decisions about anyone who isn’t.
In the end, it’s not just about whether an employee is collecting emails or upselling a warranty. It’s about whether or not they respect your direction. You might think it’s just one person you’re letting slip because they’re your best sales guy or they’ve been with you forever, but the rest of your staff is watching. They’re taking their cues from what you do.
- Plan Ahead
Trade shows are a great place to meet a bunch of prospects at one time. They take a lot of planning and are usually a full year in the making. Scanning your prospective trade shows EARLY is a great idea, and can take the stress out of the show and lower expenses. No overnight rush charges and last minute flights to drive up the costs.
- Stay true to your goals
Set up your trade show to close the deal and be prepared. Scout out the location and find the best place to sit down with a prospect. Ask yourself if you’ll have room in your booth, and if not, where? Do you need a few stools? Thinking about this in advance will pay dividends.
Your second goal should be to make new contacts and collect contact data. Here’s a tip within a tip—only ask for what you’ll use. For most, email addresses, phone numbers, and maybe a zip code are sufficient. Don’t bother people for information you don’t need.
- Beware of bullshitters
You should engage everyone and don’t let a single prospect dominate your time. The quiet guys in the back are your buyers. Make sure you make eye contact with people on the periphery too visually say—I see you and I want to talk to you.
- Be prepared to hold an audience
When you’re answering one person’s question, restate the question for everyone around you to hear and then give the answer using several examples that different people could relate to.
- Embrace the showmanship within your brand
People are looking to be engaged and even entertained when walking the aisles—so give them what they want… as long as it’s not too far from your brand. If you’re selling fishing trips, dangling some line with a dollar bill overhead in the aisle might land you a big one—this may not work so well if you’re selling designer handbags, or maybe it would.
An attractive booth with some interactive element is key. People want an excuse to engage with you that isn’t direct—Hi, I’m interested in your product/service. Spin the wheel, cornhole, samples, etc.
- Work as a team
If you’re the guy upfront answering questions and playing showman, make sure you have a coworker tied to your hip. When the prospect is qualified, make sure you do a warm handoff to your coworker to get that prospect’s information so you can continue engaging with other people and answering questions.
- Give away something cool or valuable
In exchange for contact information, give away something cool and rather big. Draw for a large prize on the last day of the show or stop all that you’re doing to announce a winner every hour. This will give people a reason to keep swinging by your booth.
The prize could be event and location related ($250 gift card to the Buffet at the Casino), or universally useful—like cash. Company t-shirts only go so far.
Whatever you promise, be sure to deliver—have the winners name on the board when you say you’re going to. Take this part seriously as it’s the first impression of your accountability.
- Follow up during the show
When you get that magical prospect that you really feel good about, don’t wait till a week after the show to follow up. Consider doing it an hour or two after you meet with a text or email telling them you’re glad they stopped by and you’re looking forward to working with them. Maybe even invite them to dinner if they don’t have plans, or meet for a cocktail or coffee. Make friends in person while you have the chance.
- Have a plan for when you return to the office, before you return
Trade shows are a lot of work, and I’ve seen time and time again where the people who put on the show come back and are wiped out. While they were gone, the earth kept spinning and now their inbox is overflowing with hot items. It’s easy for a couple of weeks or even a month to go by before you think about following up with the trade show leads—oh, where did we put those?
- Have a good home-team handoff in place
Consider having your home team ready to take the baton from the road warriors and take immediate action on the leads. EVERYONE will be happier about trade shows when that happens.
Asking your hunters to skin, clean, cook, and then also serve their own catch is a great way to crush morale. Have a proper homecoming for your team and be ready to take over on what needs to be done, which is:
- FOLLOW UP with Email
Have a plan that is longer than—we’ll send them an email.
You should have a series of messages lined up to stay in touch for the next year. Everyone else will have petered out by then, but not you and it will make a big difference, especially when you go back next year. Here are some ways to do the initial follow-up.
- Be willing to do the math
Add up all your expenses from the trade show. Not just the direct costs like booths, flights, hotels, and meals. Add up the time as well—the time for planning, the time away, the time for set up and tear down, and the extra time needed at the office to get caught up. Don’t overlook any expense. Once you find out your actual cost per lead, you’ll be more likely to give them the resources they deserve.
That’s my Dozen Best Tips for having an amazing trade show and getting the most out of your investment. Take these tips with you on the road and download now. If you need help on the last step—following up via email—please contact us and we’d be happy to discuss a custom solution for you. If you don’t have a clear email follow up plan for the next year, you might as well go to the race track, bet on a bunch of horses, and then throw the tickets away before checking them… it will be a lot more fun and you’ll never have that sickening feeling of seeing a press release from your competitor signing that big account you forgot to follow up with.
Client reviews are a powerful marketing tool. We know firsthand how awkward it can be to ask your clients to tell you how they feel about you, but people generally love to share their opinions. Just check out Yelp, Amazon, or Google Maps for proof.
Before we discuss email strategies, we should say that the best way to ask your clients for their reviews is in-person—during conversation when they are singing your praises, when they call to compliment you on a job well done, when you just went out of your way to help them, or when they sign up for the next big thing in their contract. But asking for reviews via email is an extremely efficient way of collecting the reviews you want to get your business booming. Here are 4 ways to email for reviews—and a top-secret offer at the end.
1. Use Your Email List
You may try an email broadcast that goes a little something like…
Did you know that the number of [your business name] fans has doubled in this year alone? We must be doing something right! Let us know what keeps you coming back for more. This enables us to continue providing the best experience possible for you and helps others understand how [your business name] can make their life easier.
What makes this example great is that you can easily use it on social media, too. You can reach all of your customers at once and soon you’ll see those reviews rolling in. Just make sure your business is outstanding before asking a broad audience like this. If you’re not sure, be sure to give those who want to tell you the truth an outlet to do so by offering a feedback@yourdomain address.
2. Write a personal email to your VIP clients
Choose the handful of clients who kept you in business this past year and ask them for a favor.
Dear [client first name].
As one of our preferred customers, your feedback is of the utmost importance to [your business name]. We are constantly striving to provide the ideal experience for our customers, and your input helps us to define that experience. That being said, if you could take a minute to post a review on [review platform], we would really appreciate it.
We hope to see you again soon!
3. Get your employees involved
Have the email come from a real person’s email address. In other words, don’t use your info account to send out an email when asking for reviews. It will be even more impactful if it comes from an employee who has worked closely with the client. For the ultimate in success, ask for the review in person, and then follow up with an email making it easy for them by implementing tip #4…
4. Link directly to the review page
Whether you’re asking for reviews via Google or Facebook, Amazon, or Yelp, making it simple for your client to get there is critical. Give them a direct link.
Sign off on your email with a link to where the reviews are made, like this:
To submit your review, simply click the link below and let us know what you think.
[insert link here]
Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review. Your feedback is highly appreciated and important to us and I look forward to reading your comments.
5. Shh. This one is top-secret
If your company is not perfect (because whose is?) you may be frightened to ask for reviews from everyone in a broadcast. We have a Top Secret Strategy around this that’s usually reserved for clients only, but if you call us at 805-316-3201 and ask us about it we’re happy to share.
Speaking of which, if you found this useful, you can follow us and leave us a facebook review here. Or if Google is more your thing you can leave that review here. And if you’d love to give us some honest feedback about how we’re falling short, we’d love to hear that here.
In the current political climate, it’s more important than ever that businesses take a clear leadership role in saving the planet.
With the EPA headed by the ridiculously malevolent Scott Pruitt, let’s just say the USA is not currently leading this charge. Luckily, there are organizations like One Percent for the Planet that are picking up the slack.
Co-Founded in 2002 by reluctant businessman Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia and the author of Let My People Go Surfing (which inspired our 4-day work week here at EB), 1% for the Planet is a community of companies who give 1% of their sales to an environmentally related organization.
This year we are proud to renew our membership in 1% for the Planet, during which we will be donating over 1% of our sales to various organizations, including the winner of our One Client, One Year, One Dollar
Previously, we were able to make a valuable donation to an organization called Friends of Heybrook Ridge—a grassroots organization that saved a giant,
We encourage you and your company to join us as members of this courageous group by pledging 1% of your sales to a nonprofit near and dear to you that is helping the globe become a better place to live.
There are six core focus areas: climate, food, land, pollution, water, and wildlife. If you run a nonprofit and are unaware of the benefits (and donations) of 1% for the Planet, please consider joining by contacting us or another 1% for the Planet member. Membership is closed for new non-profits looking to receive funds, other than being referred by an existing member.
There’s no doubt that the way of the world is digital. People shop, live stream their favorite shows, keep in touch with friends and family, and even make their medical appointments online. Why should your marketing strategy be any different? Businesses and consumers alike are almost always online, literally. Think about it for a moment. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Okay, second, because coffee before talkie. You check your phone. You skim through emails, scroll through the never-ending sea of baby and political posts on social media, and then check the final score to last night’s game all before you hop in the shower. Wouldn’t you like your business in the forefront of all those peoples’ screens?
When you’re growing a business, it may seem like the ever-evolving world of digital marketing becomes quickly overwhelming. There’s already so much you have to do—how are you going to tap into your creative side, compile a list of ideas, and maintain a well thought out game plan? Start with the basics. We’ve put together a 3-step crash course on getting your digital marketing started.
So, what exactly is digital marketing? It’s the promotion of a brand or products using a variety of electronic media. Think website, social media, and our personal favorite—email. Your strategy is a plan of action that will help you achieve your goals using online marketing. Let’s begin:
1. Identify your goals.
Are you hoping to increase your website traffic? Maybe you want to generate more leads through email? Need to get more reviews? The beauty of digital marketing is that for most things, you’ll be able to measure the results. Create a simple text document or an excel spreadsheet to help keep track of the results of your efforts so you know what’s working.
2. Evaluate your current digital marketing platforms.
Gather all of your channels and put them into these categories:
- Owned: These are any outlets that your business owns. A website, blog, email list— would all go here.
- Earned: This one is all about word-of-mouth—PR work, customer/client reviews, and people sharing your content on their personal pages.
- Paid: A bit self-explanatory, but this includes channels you spend money on, like boosted social media posts, Google AdWords, or sponsored posts on other peoples websites.
Now that you have an inventory of your assets, get to organizing—add these to your spreadsheet so you can start tracking what is working for your business and what isn’t.
3. Create content that can be used across all of your marketing channels.
Congratulations! You’ve come up with a few solid goals and have an idea of what’s helping your business grow. Now comes the fun part—deciding what content is going to help you reach your goals. Content is what helps convert those website visitors, email subscribers, and social media followers into customers or clients. It can be helpful, funny, inspirational or controversial, emotional, or passionate – just make sure it fits your brand. It’s important to come up with a content creation plan that includes your goal, promotional channels, why you’re creating it, and the priority level.
Take these 3 steps, and you’ll have the start of something beautiful—your very own digital marketing strategy.
Imagine yourself at the table with your A Players at the beginning of the year. You’re brainstorming all of the amazing things you’ll achieve by December, and how you might arrive there. You may even identify your goals. Very rarely do you actually start the conversation by creating a so-called marketing plan, right? What we hear most from our clients is that a marketing plan is the last thing anybody wants to write out once annual goals are decided upon. We get it. We’re here to ask you to embrace a new way of planning—story strategy.
Our methods for storytelling come from the wisdom of Bernadette Jiwa. Her books, Story Driven, Marketing: A Love Story, and Make Your Idea Matter: Stand Out with a Better Story are some of our favs. If you want to dive deeper into the act of story building for your brand, we highly recommend them.
What is a story strategy?
A marketing plan is a series of tactics, strategies, and objectives that are intended to get your business noticed. What will really get you noticed is feelings. In other words, the way that your brand makes its intended consumers feel. Think of your favorite Super Bowl commercial. How did it make you feel? Yup, us too. I’m crying at the just the thought of that Subaru commercial, and have even set up a bank account specifically to purchase one for my daughter. She’s one year old, mind you.
If you don’t have a story, you are nobody. Just another piece of dust in the wind, essentially. You didn’t do all of that brainstorming and annual planning to end up being an afterthought.
According to Forbes, Americans alone consume over 100,000 digital words every single day, but 92% say they want brands to tell stories amongst all those words. Stories do all this and more: they help (1) convey your personality, 2) portray your brand as a leader, 3) hit the people in their feels, and 4) keep them coming back for more.
How do you create a story strategy?
Marketing often happens when your customer is telling their colleagues about your product, and how it’s made their life so much better. It happens the moment someone connects feeling to your facebook ad, your commercial, your email, your website, or your brand name.
Take your email marketing campaign for example. Review it and then ask the following questions:
- What is the purpose of this campaign?
- Who is my audience?
- How do I want people to feel when they read my emails?
- What do I want them to do when they are done?
- What impact will my campaign have on my recipients over time?
- What story will subscribers tell about my brand after getting my email messages?
If you have a good plan for the questions above, you’re well on your way to being a great storyteller.
Remember that the heart of your story should be about WHY you do what you do, and why it matters. Are you just trying to sell empty rooms at people’s houses, or are you connecting travelers to a community through local hosts? Are you selling sugar water, or are you helping people enjoy their life and their food? Are you hawking a credit card, or are you creating a feeling of membership and privilege? Be clear, then show us how.